Nearness and Light
I always say isolation is the devil's playground. If he can keep us shut up in our own minds about things and convince us that we are the ONLY ones, or that there is SHAME involved in telling the truth, he can keep us stagnant in our growth, ineffective in our relationships, and destroy us from the inside out. This, I believe, is one of Satan’s primary tactics for disabling God’s children. If he can get us to believe things that aren’t true about God, ourselves, and other people, and keep us isolated in those beliefs, he can begin to control the rudder of our lives through those lies.
4 Obstacles to Reading the Bible
Even with brutal trials, agonizing strongholds and constant temptations pressing in on all sides, the number one spiritual frustration expressed by many Christians is a lack of motivation to spend time in God’s Word. And I get it. Because I’ve had an on again/off again love affair with the Bible for 25 years. But for the last 4 years, my time in the Word has been more consistent and deeper than it’s ever been. So I thought I’d share the four main obstacles in my life and how I’ve learned to move past them.
Teach Me To Listen
I’ve come to realize that there is much more to listening than simply hearing all the words. I am convinced that an inability or unwillingness to really listen in relationships is a primary cause of conflict, misunderstanding, and pain. It can be a major obstacle to mature, deep relationships. In marriage, friendships, families, the workplace and the body of Christ. I believe we miss even more in our relationship with God when we do all the talking, thinking, figuring and decision-making without stopping to listen for His voice.
A Year Without Fear
Fear – one of our enemy’s greatest weapons. And for many of us, it has great power in our lives. Fear whispers in our ears and tells us that we must be in control. That we can’t let down. That things won’t ever change. Fear convinces us that being safe and secure is of utmost importance. It tells us that isolation is much better than community. Fear tempts us to live in the past or the future rather than in the present. It makes us believe that it’s best to run for the hills when we are hurt and in pain. It tickles our ears with promises of protection and hope.
Faith in Christ, Our Living Hope, Will Produce Joy
However, having hope does not mean that all things will work out like we think they will, or even think they should. We have hope in our security and heaven, and we also have hope because of the blessings God promises us IN THIS LIFE. The promised blessings are not material blessings, but spiritual blessings! The blessings of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Owning The Story God Wrote For You
God is on a mission to bring the Gospel to the ends of the Earth, to see men and women set free from the power of sin and darkness, to expand His universal church. Are we partnering with Him on this mission or is fear and the idol of comfort keeping us from taking steps of faithful obedience? God has put us in our specific place with our unique people for His purposes. We have been blessed with specific gifts and talents that God will grow and shape and refine. We have been CALLED FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS. God has a story to tell of His redeeming love and only we can tell it in our own unique way to the specific people in our place of influence. Like Esther, we need to respond to the call. We have to bury our fears with faith. We have to take the hard steps of obedience.